"I stopped having to be constantly right about everything," he said."I just became a student who was listening." Today, Harris said he's working with those who have been hurt by his book and is even producing a documentary that shares his journey and delves into how religious communities talk about sex and relationships.Courtship rules -- such as men and women not talking to one another -- were “well-intentioned wisdom” not found in Scripture, Allen says.
"It's been such an emotional roller coaster for me," he said."There are moments where I feel contrite and there are other moments where I swing over and I'm defensive and I'm mad that people are blaming me for things... But, the reason I don't, is because I believe that this is the pathway of growth for me, that I'm going to learn things in facing up to what I got wrong." "There's transformational power in admitting that you got something wrong," he added."Youth, zeal, certainty, ambition ..have the tendency to set the world on fire.I was writing to fellow Christians, I was saying, 'We need to be serious about our faith, we won't have sex until we're married, and if we want to avoid premarital sex, we should radically change our lifestyle, and that means we should stop dating.'" The book quickly became a staple among the Christian community, selling over 1.2 million copies and propelling Harris to instant fame.Two decades after his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye became a nationwide bestseller, author and pastor Joshua Harris is having regrets.
Harris still affirms Scripture’s teachings on sexuality. But after talking to friends and strangers since then, he has come to reevaluate his own conclusions in the book, which urged young people to stop traditional dating. A new documentary, I Survived I Kissed Dating Goodbye, dives deeper into Harris’ new beliefs as he travels across North America interviewing experts."I didn't leave room for the idea that dating could be a healthy way of learning what you're looking for in a long-term relationship, that it could be a part of growing personally," he said."I gave the impression that there was one formula that you could follow, and if you followed that, you'd be happily married, God would bless you, and you'd have a great sex life and marriage." He added, "Obviously, the real world doesn't work that way." However, the 42-year-old pastor and author said what he regrets most is the fact that he transferred the fear inside of him to his writing. "Fear of messing up, fear of getting your heart broken, fear of hurting somebody else, fear of sex." Harris, who went on to serve as senior pastor of Covenant Life Church for several years, said he finally understood the problems in his book after he stopped being the pastor of a large church and went to graduate school.In his book, Harris also urges Christian singles to commit to "purposeful singleness," as romantic relationships should exist only as a means to preparing for marriage."I was young, I was religiously zealous, I was certain, and I was restlessly ambitious," Harris recalled.Thomas Umstattd, author of and a critic of courtship, told Harris that by placing an emphasis on marriage, “you're turning up the volume too quickly on the relationship and it makes it very intense.” Curt Allen, lead pastor of Solid Rock Church in Riverdale, Md., says “girls would not talk to guys” they did not want to court.